Judah’s citizens had practiced 57 years of apostasy and idolatry when Josiah became king… and he was just eight years old! But he would set his heart to follow God.
When Josiah was 20, he began a purge of the idolatrous images and high places. Then at age 26, he sent workmen to repair the neglected temple in Jerusalem. Somehow during this project, a priest came across a copy of the Law of Moses. When the book was read in the hearing of king Josiah, he tore his clothes fearing the wrath of God for the nation’s unfaithfulness.
Immediately emissaries were sent to Huldah the prophetess for a word from God, and God told Josiah the following through her:
“Behold, I am bringing evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the curses written in the book which they have read in the presence of the king of Judah. Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods. That they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore My wrath will be poured out on this place and it shall not be quenched”
- 2nd Chronicles 34:24-25
All the curses! No quenching! God was coming to Judah for their rebellion, their neglect, their arrogance and their foolish belief in idols. But when? When would the boom be lowered on these faithless people?
God was clear about one thing: He would not come until Josiah had been gathered to his fathers in death (many years later). God’s reason? Josiah humbled himself before him, tore his clothes and wept over their departure from God, and so it was promised to him that he would not see the evil that was coming. Wow! An entire nation enjoyed a brief reprieve from judgment due to this one righteous man.
This brings up the question, “How is my life impacting the timing of God’s judgment?” I have to wonder if am I helping stave it off a bit longer, or am I egging it on?
Just a thought.